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Gen Con 2018 games wrap-up part 1 August 6, 2018

Posted by thejinx in conventions, life.
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Another fantastic Gen Con has come to an end. I had a blast, as always, particularly since I took a cue from last year and scheduled my evenings full, rather than leaving myself to my own devices. I also came away from the convention feeling very inspired and actually have some time to do something about it, so hopefully I can get some work done on some of my projects this month.


Our haul this year

Strangely, though, I didn’t find as many events in the evenings that interested me, so despite my desire to game until midnight this year, two nights ended (or at least were scheduled to end) at 11:00, one at 10:00, and Wednesday night I was done by 9:00. (I was glad for that early night, however, after getting up at 3:30 that morning to make the drive.) Then the other nights ended up finishing early as the games wrapped up before schedule. I didn’t mind going back to the hotel early, though; adding a few hours of gaming onto an eight-hour work day is pretty exhausting.

And I did play some great games I’d never discovered before. So, without further ado, here comes my 2018 games wrap-up post.

Wednesday – 7:00-9:00 p.m. – The Reckoners

For the past couple years, I’d been wanting to play Mistborn: House War, a board game based on Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, one of my favourite book series, which I did end up playing on Friday. I didn’t even know that a game based on his Reckoners series, another favourite, was coming, but once I saw it at a time slot I could attend, I had to jump on it.

the_reckoners_boxThe game is cooperative and pretty complex. Each player takes one of the Reckoners, who each have different strengths and weaknesses, and moves around the districts of Newcago to research the weaknesses of the Epics ruling there and to defeat them, working their way up to researching and defeating Steelheart. Actions are dictated through dice rolls, the players use pooled money to buy gear to help them along the way, and they must also keep the population of Newcago from being wiped out by the Epics. The Epics hinder player progress by adding barriers and enforcers and using their abilities to strengthen Steelheart and cause more damage.

district-tray-mockup-whiteI had fun while I was playing it, but I’m a little ambivalent about the game after the fact. Part of the problem, I’m sure, is that I was playing more of a support character, which I don’t generally lean toward, though I was also wondering about a mechanic that is probably not viable, but seems to me like it might make a lot of the game unnecessary. The fact that the game is also so complex with so many elements to take into account is also a bit of a hindrance for me; not because I didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t think there are many in my personal circle of friends who would find as much enjoyment in it. Still, I fully support the development of games based on books, particularly ones I enjoyed, and perhaps if I get to play it a few more times, I might enjoy it better.

Thursday – 7:00-9:00 p.m. – Imperial Assault Hunger Games

swi01_boxlayoutAs fans and semi-regular players of Star Wars: Imperial Assault, my husband and I were highly interested in this Hunger Games-style event, in which players each get one hero from Imperial Assault and engage in a battle royale to attempt to be the last one standing, while dealing with obstacles and hazards and picking up equipment (or exploding boxes) along the way.

This game was super fun. All the players were familiar with Imperial Assault, so there was little rules explanation needed and we were able to get started quickly. The GM did a fantastic job setting up the scenario and keeping the game play rolling swiftly, so that even though we had ten players each taking their turn one at a time, I never felt bored or waiting for things to move on. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time, since my husband and I had to hurry out a few minutes early to get to our next game and things ran a little long, partially because the GM was also fielding questions from other GMs in his group. Still, we both had a lot of fun with it and my husband did get a nice prize for getting first kill:


Astute viewers might notice that the label on the print says X-Wing Hunger Games 1st Kill, but the GM decided that he had to offer it as an option for my husband’s prize because his kill was the Mon Calamari sniper Loku.

Thursday – 9:00-11:00 p.m. – Head of Mousehold

headmousehold_boxThis was one of the cute-sounding games my husband and I saw in the event catalogue and decided to try because we didn’t see anything else we particularly wanted to play. The second mouse gets the cheese, of course, so in Head of Mousehold, players take turns putting down mouse cards to try to be the second mouse at the mousetrap, though event cards and other factors make that far less simple than it appears.

This ended up being a much more strategic game than it initially seemed. One’s hand of mice are all colour-coordinated, and the order of colour priority changes every round, so that the third or later mouse put down at a trap might be the first to reach it. Half the cards are played face down and the other half face up, so players get a partial but very incomplete view of the lines at the traps. Further, there are mice that squeak and alert the cat, which, if it ends up first in line at the trap, also gets the second mouse eliminated.

I played pretty conservatively my first round while I was still understanding the game mechanics, but ended up getting a lot of points, possibly more due to luck than any skill on my part. I tried playing more aggressively and/or strategically for the rest of the game and didn’t do quite as well, though as I recall, I finished second or third of five players. It was quite fun and a really interesting system despite fairly simple game play, and we ended up picking this one up.

That’s all for this post; Friday and Saturday to come soon.



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